Why its not a good idea to be too specific with a job title

Why its not a good idea to be too specific with a job title

May 31, 2019

When we contract new starters, and don’t forget from next April we will probably lose the 8 week window and have to contract and issue a written statement of terms and conditions before someone starts, its very tempting to use a specific and narrow job title.

In some circumstances we may have encouraged you to do so. But like eating burgers and wedges (looking forward to my tea tonight) everything must be done consciously in HR land and we ask that this is also the case in terms of job titles on contracts of employment.

It can pay to be specific and you can lose if you do!

Let’s take Andrew. Andrew is hiring for a Room Leader in his baby room. He’s advertised the position and emphasised that he’s looking for someone with experience of working with babies aged 6 weeks to 2 years and that the role will be based in his Baby Room called “Littlies”.

If Andrew makes a job offer to Beth the following week after an interview he is best advised to make it an offer of Room Leader within his Company rather than Room Leader for Littlies. Then if by the time Beth starts he needs to have a rethink about locations he has a bit of wriggle room. When it comes to giving Beth her contract of employment, would be well advised to contract with Beth as a Room Leader in his Company.

The reason why we recommend this approach is that we know that from time to time Andrew may need to reshuffle his pack. Perhaps Beth becomes too friendly with Cheryl and Beth’s objectivity leaves her. Andrew needs to swap Beth with Daniel and moves Beth to another room to look after the 1 to 2 year olds, Daniel takes her space with the babies.

We’ve known employees following maternity leave to insist they return to the room they were in before maternity when after 12 months out you have kept a position for them but in another room. You will always be grateful of that freedom.

In fact the only downside is that in a redundancy situation all the Room Leaders become a pool and therefore if you needed to reduce the number of room leaders employed they would all be subject to the same consultation and being placed at risk until you have selected those posts at high risk of being redundant.

And whilst we are talking Job Titles. Always produce Job Descriptions, these give you the right to discuss underperformance with your post holder. They can’t say to you I didn’t know that was my job! Also always make job descriptions non contractual so they can be amended and revised at any time.

You’ll want the ability redeploy the staff member as needed to meet the needs of the businness too.  Any other duties as deemed reasonable should do it.

Remember if at all unsure always give us a shout before you contract on 01527 909436


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